What comes to mind when we think of dinosaurs are enormous creatures with hard skin. It would either be a herbivore or a carnivore that could either swim, fly or walk on land. By now, you have known a few dinosaurs like the famous Tyrannosaurus rex and the Triceratops. But did you know that there are still undiscovered dinosaurs? Recently, a feathered Dinosaur was discovered in China which has features that may surprise everyone. It is called the Jianianhualong tengi.

Chicken-like dinosaur

This new discovery is dubbed as the earliest known bird ancestor.

A team of paleontologist discovered a 125-million-year-old fossilized skeleton in Liaoning, China. It is identified as one of the bird-like dinosaurs that are only three-foot long and weighs as much as a Chihuahua.

Experts reveal that the dinosaur is a species of troodontid which is a family of bird-like dinosaurs. It has asymmetrical feathers that are wider on one side than the other which is associated with the animal's capability to fly. But experts are not yet certain if the Jianianhualong tengi can actually fly since some feathered animals do not fly.

Evolution of feathers

The discovery of the dinosaur also teaches experts about the evolution of feathers.

Scientists believe that feathers aren't just for birds. It is actually an evolutionary advantage to the dinosaurs which will help them to camouflage and also for insulation. It is possible that feathers are seen in all dinosaurs like the Tyrannosaurus rex.

Xu Xing, a paleontologist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences said that the long stiff feathers of the dinosaur manifest that it belongs outside the bird family.

Based on their studies, the Jianianhualong tengi cannot fly.

But Michael Pittman, a paleontologist at the University of Hong Kong said that the feathers of this dinosaur could actually boost its aerodynamic capabilities. But that excludes flying. Instead, it includes slowing descents, longer leaps, and other actions that will help them escape from predators or catch a prey.

Holotype of dinosaur available

For those who wants to see an original example or holotype of the Jianianhualong tengi, it is available for public viewing at a museum in Dalian, China. The holotype is designed based on the skeletal features of the dinosaur. It was also compared to other troodontid specimens. The fossilized remains of the new species were also scanned using a laser-based imaging technique to come up with the holotype.

Authors of the study are still doing further research about the newly discovered dinosaur. Apart from that, they are also doing studies about the evolution of feathers and flights in animals.